tv BBC World News America PBS March 24, 2015 2:30pm-3:01pm PDT
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cultivated for the years to come, giving your company the resources and stability to thrive. mufg -- we build relationships that build the world. >> and now, "bbc world news." this is bbc world news america reporting from washington, i'm laura trevelyan. a plane carrying 150 crashes in the outs. all on board are dead. researchers have found the blackbox recorder and an investigation is now underway to discover what happened in the flight. >> for the time being, we say it is an accident. there is nothing more we can say right now. anything else would be speculation.
laura: and 70 years after u.s. marines captured the island of iwo jima, they go back to honor those who fought there. ♪ welcome to our viewers on public television in america and elsewhere around the globe. plane carrying 150 passengers and crew has crashed in the french alps, killing all on board. it was on its way to duesseldorf but slammed into a remote area of mountainous to a -- mountainous terrain. the blackbox has been recovered and now begins the investigation of the cause of the crash. collect -- >> the mountains so many visitors have adored, now the scene of europe tragedy.
the flight was shattered into pieces in the southern outs this morning. passenger aircraft reduced to debris the size of small cars. >> we heard a strange noise. we were not thinking about an airplane crash. it was a deep noise. i thought at first it was a small earthquake. >> the french president said there were no survivors. the holiday region is now flooded with the grim trappings of disaster. the nearby village has put together a makeshift morgue as the cruise in the difficult task of -- as crews begin the difficult task of finding and identifying the bodies. officials say the crash site is
largely accessible with debris scattered over hundreds of meters. most aboard were german. among them, 16 children and to teachers flying home after a weeklong school trip. >> this is the blackest day in the history of our city. we are in a deep state of shock. it is the worst thing imaginable. >> the french president was hosting the spanish royal family when the news came through. dozens of spanish passengers were thought to have been on board. relatives of those on board are now absorbing the news that those they were waiting for argonne -- are gone and what should have been a reunion are instead calls for national grief. laura: president obama expressed his condolences to chancellor merkel earlier.
how was the mood there tonight in duesseldorf? >> pretty summer, really. to the north of duesseldorf, this is a small town and that is the town from which 16 students from one school were on this plane on an exchange visit language students studying spanish here in germany who had gone to barcelona. they had already posted some spanish students here and they were making their return visit. they spent a week there and were flying home with their two teachers. tonight, there he has been in that town children going to the school, lighting candles, laying flowers, and a service going on in the church there this evening. there is a real sense of shock and morning.
and here, too, there have been families turning up, taken in by the airline into a private area to be cared for and given support while they were awaiting any possible news from france. the other real shock has been to the airline. we heard this evening from the representative of german wing that seven flight had to be canceled here in duesseldorf because the aircrews came in a declared they were not fit to fly. laura: president obama spoke to the german chancellor today. how has angela merkel reacted personally to the news? collects she came out -- >> she came out and appeared very quickly to try to catch, if you like, the national mood. she talked about this being a deep shock and a moment of real pain for particularly the families. she focused very much on the
relatives, the families of those on board. she has said that she is going in the morning straight to that crash scene to view it herself. she has dispatched already the foreign minister and the transport minister. the foreign minister flew in a french helicopter over the scene of the crash and he said it was an absolutely shocking site, because the plane had completely disintegrated on impact on this very rocky high slope. she will go herself to see that. laura: is there german shock over this since they have such an excellent aviation record and in engineering?
>> they do, and i think they like to believe that, the national airline lufthansa has a very good safety record going back many years. and this airline, although it is a low-cost carrier owned and operated by lufthansa, it is inspected by lufthansa engineers and also has a very good safety record. for all of those reasons, yes certainly, a real sense of shock and can turn about that. of course, many are asking questions about what could have caused this crash. that would be the key thing. why did this plane flying at 40,000 feet suddenly descend so quickly and fly into the mountains? laura: the plane crashed as one of the best safety records in the world. the airbus a320 is often described as the workhorse of modern aviation. what could cause it to lose altitude suddenly and crash in the mountains?
but go to our correspondent. >> airbus has one of the best safety records. it makes the crash all the more shocking. the plane was 24 years old, but was serviced and checked regularly and fitted with the latest electronics. they have recovered the blackbox data recorder and it should tell investigators what happened on board. >> it should be a fairly rapid process to download it depending on whether it is damaged severely or not. it may give us some insight into what has happened. discovering why it has actually happened might take somewhat longer. >> this is what we know from flight radar data. just after 9:00, the german wing a320 cross the french alps. the execute was a normal 35,000
feet and around 900 miles trower. -- the altitude was a normal 35,000 feet and around 900 miles per hour. then things go wrong rapidly. even in an emergency, pilots would have time to change direction, look for somewhere to land. the planes last known position is here in the french alps. it all points to a sudden catastrophic event so quick that it doesn't look like the pilot had time to radio in a mayday or look for the nearest runway. across the world, airbus a320 takes off or land every three seconds. the key question for investigators, is there a problem that could crop up in other aircraft? laura: for more on this incident and the search for answers, i'm joined now from denver by aircraft accident investigator matthew robinson. blackbox recorder has already been found. how's the second is that in --
how significant is that this early in the investigation? matthew: this is nothing but good news, and relatively speaking, this investigation is going much quicker and smoother than the previous publicized crashes. that blackbox, or as we refer to it, the flight data recorder will be taken to the laboratory and the system downloaded. you want to make sure you are not erasing any of the memory. all of this nice data is recorded from -- all of this nice data are recorded from the various systems. that is merely a good starting point, and the whole investigation should not rely solely on those data. we should find corroborating evidence. so correct -- so the best hitters will have a trail to
follow -- so the investigators will have a trail to follow at that point. laura: the plane took eight minutes to defend. does that suggest anything to you about the possible cause of the crash? matthew: it's too early to speculate on the cause of the crash right now solely regarding the rate of descent. it's not exactly a plummet to earth. it's around 2500 to 3000 feet per minute. that does not indicate out of control flight to me on initial examination. out of control flight would be upwards of 15,000 to 20,000 feet are minute, you know, -- per minutes, you know, in a freefall. this is something that merits investigation. i would be interested in any catastrophic event resulting in pilot incapacitation. one of the last thing that crews
are comedic -- are trained to do is to communicate what is going on. they need to fly the plane first, but you would think there was something they would have been able to do in those few minutes before impact. laura: the plane is described as a blood rated by the mountainous -- as obliterated by the mountainous terrain in the alps. how difficult will this search be echoed -- will this search be? matthew: this will be extremely difficult. it will be boots on the ground peace by fees, people taking the evidence of an categorizing it and bringing it out of the field, in some instances, maybe helicoptered out. i have done this type of investigation in mountainous terrain before and it takes weeks, sometimes months, depending on the amount of wreckage out there. laura: matthew robinson, thank you for joining us. israel has denied reports that
it bite on talks between iran and the united states. the united states will keep its true blood levels in afghanistan study through the end of the year. instead of drawing down the numbers as originally planned. president obama announced the change at the white house during a press conference with the visiting afghan president. he is on a whirlwind tour of the american capital. a shotgun he is here to make the case to president obama that whatever afghanistan -- the afghani president is here to make the case to president obama that whatever afghanistan is doing, he wants possibility in the u.s. timetable for drawing
down troops. today, president obama gave this response. president obama: i've decided we will maintain our pastor of 9800 troops through the end of this year. laura: the u.s. has nearly 10,000 forces in afghanistan down from 100,000 troops. afghanistan's present -- president welcomed the delayed drawdown. >> the possibility that is provided will be used to accelerate reforms to ensure that national security forces are much better equipped, trained, and focus on their fundamental mission. laura: the war in afghanistan has already cost the u.s. military more than 2200 lives. and the american tax payer more than $1 trillion. he will try to convince u.s.
lawmakers to continue supporting his country in an address to the u.s. i'm joined now by mark roseland, who formally served as special representative to afghanistan and pakistan for the state department. how much of a difference will this may, 9800 troops staying on through the end of this year? mark: i think it's a great decision. the president came here and said i have a different attitude toward the united states. i want reform and self-reliance, but we've got some work to do with the afghan security forces. they can fight but they take a lot of casualties and they have a lot of people desert. they need back up and they need us to show we have confidence in them going forward. laura: how long could u.s. troops be there? could they be there longer than they are supposed to be at the end of 2016? mark: when president obama came to mother was in a -- there was
a war -- when president obama came into office, there was a war in afghanistan. it is down from 100,000 to less than 10,000 today. he has made it clear he wants as few troops as possible when he leaves office. his job now is to support the afghan forces. laura: it is so different from the days of hamid karzai. mark: very different, and it shows that who is in these jobs matters. they came to the united states and part of their message was thank you, we appreciate it. we understand the sacrifice you've made and that provides was worthwhile and has made a big difference in attitude on the american side, and also the afghan side. laura: and there is a thread on the ground from the taliban, and also those trying to face the i s.
mark: it allows president obama to look at the american public and say, we can leave our forces there for a little bit longer. why? because there is a new president of afghanistan who is interested in self-reliance and afghan security forces are fighting and we ought to help them. laura: how much of a problem do you think it really is, the threats that the afghan forces are facing their? mark: they are enormous threats. the taliban is prepared to fight for stop this very day we are fighting taliban forces in afghanistan. what's important is afghani session on they are prepared to fight for what they want to achieve in the last few years. and the question the united states is, can we support them? lower: the cost has been so huge to americans. is it worth it? mark: in terms of money and
lives lost and those wounded over this, afghanistan is not the same country was in 2003. you've got to leave a stable basis there, lest isis or whatever they are called comes along and take advantage of the chaos. laura: thank you very much. still to come, returning to iwo jima 70 years after they fought a battle there, some of the survivors returned to mark the anniversary. actress angelina jolie has revealed she's had her ovaries removed to remove more risk of getting cancer. two years after getting the double mastectomy, the hollywood star had the surgery last week. >> angelina jolie, one of hollywood's most powerful stars, is fighting a determined battle to prevent cancer.
angelina: i'm very happy to have a discussion about this. it means the world to me. correct to -- >> two years ago she revealed she had her double mastectomy and now she has had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed. she said, i went through what i imagine thousands of other women have felt. i told myself to stay calm and i have no reason to think i would not live to see my children grow up and to meet my grandchildren. she said, my doctor indicated i should have preventative surgery about a decade before the earliest onset of cancer in my female relatives. angelina jolie inherited the b rca1 gene. doctors gave her a 50% chance of ovarian cancer, the disease which killed her mother. having surgery dramatically reduced this risk. two years ago after angelina
jolie spoke out about her health, calls to cancer clinics sword with women's concerned about -- women concerned about their family history. correct the fact that she has come out and said it and clearly explain the issue makes it so much easier for them. >> doctors anticipate a similar so-called jolie effect, with the hope it will save lives. laura: 70 years ago this week u.s. marines captured the japanese pacific island of iwo jima. in the battle best known for the iconic image of marines raising the u.s. flag as the fighting raged around them. less than 1000 of the 21,000 japanese garrison were left alive.
today, there is a war grave in place of civilians. veterans are allowed to return. rupert has -- and this year, rupert went with them. rupert: today on the tiny island of iwo jima, the only thing to disturb the silence is the sound of bird song. [gunfire] but 70 years ago this place was a vision of hell. the u.s. marine corps fought it by into it -- inch by inch against the japanese. it remains the bloodiest battle for the marine corps. more than 20 survivors of that battle have come back. now in their 90's, it is perhaps their last chance. this man was a flamethrower
operator, a job fuse the ripe for long. he won the congressional medal of honor on the same day that iconic photograph was taken of the u.s. flag eating raised over the mountain. >> it was the flag as far as i'm concerned. it made the difference. it was the first time we really got part of their country. and it said to us, and i think it's said to america, hey, we are winning this ring. -- this thing. we are now winning. and up to that point, there are a lot of us that did not think we were. rupert: looking down to the beach where he landed 70 years ago, the memories flood back. >> i'm thinking of all of those who did not make it back. i'm thinking of those who died. i'm not a hero. they are. rupert: these u.s. veterans are rightly celebrated for the fact -- the sacrifice they made here
70 years ago. back in the u.s., they are still to this day known as the greatest generation. the same cannot be known for the japanese men who served here. it is telling that there is a live one japanese veteran here today and the only way he could get here was by coming with the americans. that man is 88-year-old -- is 88 years old. there is great excitement he is here. the american veterans all want to have their photograph taken with him will stop -- have their photograph taken with him. >> it is very hard in my mind to imagine what happened. the memories come flooding back. i feel very, very sad. rupert: it is hard to imagine what those memories are like. as an 18-year-old, he spent two months deep in a tunnel like this one under iwo jima.
he was badly injured and slowly starving to death. >> the americans came into the cave. it was filthy, stuck with excrement and dead bodies. i jumped into the water to wash. chemicals were in the water. it became a sea of rain. it hurt like cal. rupert: despite this, he said he holds no grudge against his former enemies. he says they all experienced sacrifice and loss and they all have one thing in common, and an important -- and at lawrence -- an abbhorrence of war. laura: that brings today's broadcast to a close.
to reach me and the bbc team, go to twitter. thanks for watching. tune in tomorrow. >> make sense of international news at bbc.com/news. >> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation newman's own foundation giving all profits from newman's own to charity and pursuing the common good, kovler foundation, and mufg. >> build a solid foundation and you can connect communities and commerce for centuries. that is the strength behind good banking relationships, too. which is why, at mufg, we
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: europe in mourning. a passenger jet crashes in the french alps en route to germany from spain. all 150 people on board are presumed dead. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. also ahead this tuesday: we talk with afghanistan's president ashraf ghani, as he appeals to president obama for additional u.s. troops, money%3 and assistance, to counter a continuing taliban threat. >> woodruff: plus... >> bam! this letter from the state of california saying you owe us $54,000. i was like "what?!" >> woodruff: the hidden costs of medicaid. why california waits to mail &q!ealth care bills